Teachers vs Wharfies

According to CareersNZ website secondary school teachers get:

Secondary school teachers with four years’ tertiary study start on $47,023 a year, but can earn more depending on additional qualifications and experience.

Pay increases each year for seven years according to a fixed scale, with the maximum pay $71,000 a year.

Secondary school teachers may earn more than this if:

  • they take on management roles such as dean or head of department
  • they teach the shortage subjects of maths, physics, chemistry, home economics, te reo Māori, English, or physical education, where they receive an extra $3,500 a year for up to five years, paid in their third, fourth and fifth years of teaching
  • they teach in a school that is identified as one that is hard to staff, where they receive an extra $3,500 in their third, fourth and fifth years of teaching
  • they teach in a private or independent school, which sometimes pay an extra $2,000 to $3,000 a year.

We now know that wharfies at Ports of Auckland earn between $91,000 and $122,000.

No one denies that school teachers are important, but how can you really compare the remuneration. Teachers spend 3-4 years at University getting a degree, presumably they would have a student loan, then a year at Teacher’s College. They certainly spend more than 40 hours a week working with unruly, ungrateful students and go home and do even more work in the form of marking. For all of that at best they can earn $71,000. Meanwhile the wharfies with no particular skills can earn a minimum of $91,000 and up to $122,000 per annum unloading ships, with full medical insurance benefits and 5 weeks holidays, plus the utter bonus is they only actually work 28 hours despite being paid for 40.

Who should be paid more

  • A secondary school teacher? (95%, 446 Votes)
  • A Ports of Auckland wharfie? (5%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 468

Loading ... Loading ...

THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • Gazzmaniac

    Cameron – I’m not suggesting for a second that I don’t value teachers and they don’t have a hard job themselves, however the wharfies (and anyone in heavy industry for that matter) have a more dangerous job.  They work stupid shifts with little notice, fatigue is a major issue on big weeks (as it is in the mining industry), and they can and do get seriously injured doing their job. 
    I do think that the maritime union is out of line with its current set of demands, but I also think that wharfies and others in heavy industry should be paid more than the comparitively safe job of teaching.
    Also if the pay is so good at the wharf why don’t you get a job there?

  • Gazzaw

    Cam, I have already posted about charter schools in the UK & at risk of upsetting the largely anti-teachers sentiments expressed on this site will go into bat for he teachers. Most people here should be aware by now that I am no bleeding heart PC leftard. I am not a teacher but have close connections within the profession and as a parent have done my bit in the past working with a hardworking & very professional Board of Trustees over quite a lengthy period. Let me quote a  fairly typical example of a young primary teacher with four years experience at a high decile school. He’s 28, graduated five years ago and has an outstanding student loan of $28k. He earns about $55k which includes a supplement for one management unit. I give him a lift to school on my way to my office and his preference is to be at school by about 7.45am. Occasionally I bring him home about 4.30pm but three nights a week minimum he works at school until about 5.30pm to attend syndicate or staff meetings. Once a month he attends a BOT meeting until 10.30pm as teachers rep. On top of that he has Saturday sport plus marking & prep work at home in the evenings and at the weekends. Long holidays? School finished officially last year 16 December, he finished 22 December and will return to school partially 19 Jan & fulltime 23 Jan to prepare for the school year commencing 31 Jan. He will get to enjoy his leave for about 50% of the official school holidays in April, July & September.

    I am not denying for a minute that there are some lazy, backsliding teachers out there who should no longer be in the profession but the young man that I have decribed is pretty typical of the new young breed of teachers. They love their job and work as hard as any other young professionals wanting to get ahead with their careers. He can’t wait for charter schools and performance pay.
    He can’t wait either for a strong government hand in shaking the dead wood out of the system. 

    Underpaid? What do you think? $55k a year for a 50+ hour week and a shitload of responsibility in shaping young minds. They don’t do it for the money.   


  • Gazzmaniac

    Gazzaw – they also don’t get killed on the job either, and they’re not the only people in the country who do a 55 hour week.
    I don’t have any problem with teachers being paid more by performance either.

    • Gazzaw

      Wharfies tend not to get stabbed, abused and assaulted on a fairly regular basis either.

      Where did I say that teachers were the only people who do a 55 hour week? I pointed that out as there is a general misconception that they roll up at 9am and piss off at 3pm and get 12 weeks a year off.

      I’m not blindly sticking up for the teachers – all that I set out to do is put the record straight as Kosh & others sadly misrepresent the image of he profession. Believe me Gazz I am no lefty but I do see a lot of energy in the young teachers and we must support them & ensure that the new administration gives them the tools to take the profession into a new era and regain the respect of the public.    

  • Gazzmaniac

    And many people would do a lot to have 8 weeks off per year even if it was at the same time as bloody school kids.

    • Gazzaw

      At $50k per year I don’t begrudge them some extra leave. Some even use part of it to get a second job to supplement their income or pay off student loans.

  • Peter Wilson

    So what about the article from McCarten about the pay rates for the wharfies. 47k for a 40 hour week? Was that all a fiction?

    • Yep he only mentions the base rate…he doesn’t mention any of the various add-ons that a company various task or high risk activities, or shift allowance. The union is talking about base rates and the Port company is talking about actual earnings.

      To carry on the teachers vs wharfies analogy…teachers don;t get paid extra to coach a sports team, the wharfies get paid extra for almost every activity.

      • Anonymous

        Your full of shit Slater:

        First, a wharfie on 40 hours a week gets $56,000. The hourly rate is $27. With overtime, some can earn up to $71,000. The union says that to earn $91,000, a worker would have to work additional overtime equal to 32 weeks fulltime in a year.

        A seventy two hour week is not a base rate dumb ass!

  • Gazzmaniac

    Being from Matt McCarten it probably was fiction, or at least a very good manipulation of the statistics.

  • Ploughman

    Two points:  There should be a career path for able teachers so that they do not have to leave the class room to get promotion and higher pay.  Call them Senior Teachers, Magister or something.

    The remuneration achieved by teachers ain’t much of an advert for the present system of strong unions and false equity!

  • Paul Rain

    But how many Maccas workers have had to study three years of fine arts?

  • Agent BallSack

    Whale how about a comparison of Wharfies vs Soldiers? Since wharfing is such a dangerous job, and ohh you may have to get up early to work and maybe expected to work all of those 40 hours you are paid for, lets see how many hours the average soldier works, job risks vs rewards and remuneration scales.

    • Gazzmaniac

      I’m not disputing soldiering is a dangerous job. I believe soldiers are paid less than teachers.

  • Gazzaw

    A great analogy to draw. Does anyone know the base rate for a soldier and any extra allowances that they may receive for active service. Not too many suicide bombers around the POA container terminal as far as I know. Not at this stage anyway.

  • Vdchdsh


    Instead of continually moaning about them, become one

    • Gazzaw

      Not too many of us on this site have the necessary ‘contacts’ in the union to get a job there. We may have difficulty with fitting in too given our work ethic.

  • Mickrodge

    Pay rates are pay rates. Teachers & nurses were/are predominantly female heavy professions and are traditionally filled by people with a love of the job more so than the money.

    Historically these vocations have also been within the public sector hence they pay rates have always been pretty grim in comparison to private sector roles.

    Compare that with the wharfies who have been a unionised gallery of rogues for about 100 years & it’s no great surprise to see the clear disparity between the professions.

    I left the Army 11 years ago now but when I left i’d just cracked 30k. You don’t join the army for the money either. I remember whilst on basic training you were on 13k and once you graduated it rose to 18k. You’d also get extra for being in the scrub or overseas so it could add up as you weren’t really spending it at the time. Cheap piss too!!!

    Ahhhh those were the days.

    • EX Navy Greg

      A senior naval rating is on about the same as a senior teacher.I left 2 months ago.
      22 years service, 4840 days at sea, 6 hotzone deployments, zero regrets.

      • Gazzaw

        Plus a healthy retirement package or lump sum at the age of about 40 Greg? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t resent it at all but the police and the armed services do give you the ability to do something else with your life at a relatively young age and the means to do it with.

      • EX Navy Greg

        Agreed Gazzaw, but they take 10% of your salary as your contribution during your tenure,Me, 47,$160k

      • Honcho

        Gazzaw, Military super is a relic and has been replaced by kiwi saver for new members of the forces, since its inception.
        You get paid a lump sum, 7.9% of your pay as you earn it is secreted away into super, and the military comes to the part with twice that, which works out at slightly less then the polices scheme. The scheme also acts as a life insurance policy with your totals paid out, along with 2 years of your current rate on death or total and complete disability.Higher paid trades in the army, in the ranks, with hands on the tools, are the  technical trades in the workshops (fitter turners, electicians, vehicle mechanics (diesel)), which at private to lance corporal level (workers, not ‘supervisors’) is a mere $27-45k (which even with super and accomodation benefits only brings that top rate to 56k) …. not big money, especially compared to what those skills are worth in the australia, or even the real world of new zealand.

      • EX Navy Greg

        Correct Honcho, Except kiwi saver was not compulsory to join for NZDF until July1, 2009, you could opt out straight away. Most long serving jacks like me already had other retirement plans and didn’t want a bar of kiwi saver. The super used to be 10%, topped up dollar for dollar.
        As for my lump sum, the taxman got more, for doing nothing, than I will earn this year.

  • ConwayCaptain

    In my time at sea I sailed with good hard working members of the NZSU and they usually got rid of the crap if any joined,  The shit didnt last on those ships..  However the majority were oxygen wasters and dragged the good ones down.

    Some of the older seamen born pre war had left school at 12 with a very basic education but they were some of th best read people I have ever met and used to have long discussions with these men on the bridge at night.  The young ones SHIT